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In partnership with the Springfield Art Association and the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association, we are growing together!

Our Vision

Our vision is to foster an environment where people from all walks of life can come together to grow high-quality produce, learn how to garden, and to create a context where people can grow together.

From the beginning, this garden has been about more than food. It is our hope and intention that we will create a context where people from all walks of life can come together, can work together, and can get to know each other. In a mixed and transitional neighborhood, we hope that this can be a “third-space”–not mine, not yours, but ours–where we can foster relationships among others.

Secondly, the garden is about food. We desire to put high-quality—completely organic and shockingly fresh—produce into the hands of our neighbors. We understand that folks who are struggling with poverty do not always have access to good foods. We want not just to fill people’s stomachs but to nourish them. When we have to claw for food, and when that food does not completely nourish us, our lives are likely to suffer.

A third value is that we desire to communicate and help people learn usable skills.  More than giving food away in our pantry, we also desire to work with neighbors in an effort to help people learn how to grow their own food. We understand that access to land and leisure time often prevent this from happening, but we have friends in our midst who have expressed an interest in learning how to grow good food.

And so, by putting land, people, and community together, we hope to foster a community garden.

One Garden, Two Locations

The Neighborhood Gardens at The Art Association

PICTURE

In 2011, we began a food pantry garden on the grounds of the Springfield Art Association.  In 2012, we felt led to grow food with our neighbors rather than for them.  We divided the land into personal plots for neighbors, sectioning off a larger communal plot that we all work and harvest together.

Honestly, we were stunned at the positive response—having a waiting list of participants in our first year.

The Neighborhood Gardens on N. 5th

BEFORE/AFTER PICTURES

Beginning in 2014, and in close partnership with the Enos Park Neighborhood Improvement Association (EPNIA), we expanded The Neighborhood Gardens to an additional location.  Situated on 3 consecutive empty lots owned by EPNIA, we have been able to greatly expand our growing space.

Increasing access to high-quality food and empowering others to grow what they eat are continuing goals as we expand.  Further, we hope to create a community space in our neighborhood where people from all walks of life can come together.

We hope that this new space can be a context where we can know our neighbors and love them in a new way.  A further place where we can practice “the ministry of presence,” know the names of our neighbors, share stories and common tasks, communicate the love of Christ with our lives.  It is easy to get caught in to-do lists, thus we continually remind ourselves of the eternal value of our neighbor in an effort to stop and know them.

Further, we participate with Christ in making new things, in reclaiming the empty and turning into beauty.  As we work in a former vacant lot, we are reminded of Rev. 21:5, where Christ says/will say: “Behold, I make all things new!”

In all this, we are humbled by the out-pouring of neighborhood support, response, and interest.  We are grateful for the many partners who help to make this happen.  If you’d like to be involved, give us a call (217-523-2269) or email us at kumlerumc@hotmail.com.  Come grow with us!